Do you feel as though you’ve exhausted your methods for garnering new leads? If so, it’s time to turn to LinkedIn. The platform offers a variety of free and paid features to maximize your lead-gathering efforts on both your personal and business pages, but as with most things, you can’t dive in without some preparation. First, I’ll walk you through setting up your pages for success. Then, we’ll discuss how to get leads.
Preparing your pages
Before I go any further, you should already have both a personal LinkedIn page and one for your company. Your personal page allows you to connect with people on an individual level, while your company page allows your employees, as well as customers, clients, fans and interested job-seekers to follow and engage with your content.
Your profile is broken into the following six sections, all of which can be made visible or hidden via settings:
This is a snapshot of your professional persona and where job recruiters, new connections or potential leads can view your name, profile photo, headline, current job title, location, and additional resources such as a personal website, digital portfolio, or social media channels. While it may seem invasive, it’s important to have this information filled out.
This section is often used to summarize your background and professional experience before getting into detail in the next section. While I’m sure you have many achievements you’d like to highlight (and don’t worry, you will get to do so in a few sections), this blurb should be relatively short. Consider highlighting which industries you’ve worked in and some soft and hard skills you’re extra proud to have in your arsenal. LinkedIn will even auto-generate this piece for you if you’d prefer, but this is a great opportunity to add some personal flare. Yes, it’s LinkedIn, but there’s no need to be all work and no play.
This is the heftiest section of them all, broken up into four subsections: Work Experience, Education, Licenses & Certifications, and Volunteer Experience. It sounds like a lot, but this is basically your resume. Simply copy and paste your job descriptions from your resume to the corresponding fields in these subsections.
Having this filled out is wonderful for digital networking, as it allows connections and potential leads to get the full picture of who you are, which is important for building relationships.
This section is more important for those seeking a job, as it allows LinkedIn to match you with relevant opportunities based on what skills the job requires and what you possess. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have this section filled out.
This is no time for humility! Show off your published works, patents, successful projects, and, most importantly, honors and awards, right here. Your accomplishments lend credibility and prestige that your connections and potential leads will appreciate.
If you belong to any LinkedIn groups (more on that in a minute) or have liked other company pages, these will show up here as your interests. This is just another layer for connections and potential leads to consider, and it shows that you’re involved in the LinkedIn community, not simply there to solicit sales.
While this is a visible section on your page, it’s not one you get to completely control like the aforementioned sections. Activity showcases all the content you’ve liked from other LinkedIn users or posted yourself.
As a business leader, you’ll want to post consistently, not sporadically when it’s time to find new leads. This means constantly sharing your own content or re-sharing another user’s or company’s content. In the case of the latter, it’s good to include a blurb of your own thoughts with re-shared content, simply to better establish your voice as a business leader.
Your company LinkedIn profile should have a profile image, header image, tagline, industry, and location.
It is also broken up into sections. These are:
This is a news feed of your content. Blogs, photos, videos, infographics, and anything else your page manager posts or re-shares will appear here. Like your personal page, having consistent, relevant content on the company page looks great to potential leads, as its shows you’re keeping a finger on the pulse of your industry.
This section allows you to provide a comprehensive description of your company’s background and offerings. There are also specific fields you can fill out for your website link, industry, company size, headquarters location(s), founding year, and specializations. It’s recommended to have these all filled out, as potential leads can glean more knowledge about your company's mission.
Here you can add openings at your company for potential job-seekers to apply for. It’s not the most relevant section for gathering leads, so I won’t elaborate further.
This section automatically populates when your employees list your company as their workplace, so no need to worry about editing this section yourself.
This section is a paid feature that LinkedIn describes as a way “to drive interest in your company.” It ultimately focuses on highlighting company culture with sections such as trending employee content, company leaders, spotlights, company photos, employee perspectives, and testimonials.
So, now that your personal and company pages are looking their best, the leads should start rolling in, right? Not quite. You now must go out into the virtual world with your spruced up pages and put in the work to garner exposure and leads.
Join groups related to your company’s interests and target demographic
This is an excellent way to network with other professionals in your industry while also keeping up with the latest happenings directly from the source: your existing and potential clients. You can start a conversation or chime in on an existing one. You can also begin building your reputation as an industry expert by sharing your company’s content with an audience who will truly appreciate it.
Find contacts via LinkedIn’s comprehensive search feature
This is a great feature in general, as it allows you to be highly specific in your search criteria, but it comes in extra handy when you have a company in mind to target but no known contacts to reach out to directly.
Once you’ve found who you’re looking for, you can reach out using InMail, a paid feature.
Connect with InMail
At one point or another, you’ve probably received a direct message on LinkedIn from someone you don’t know. That’s the beauty of InMail! It allows you to reach out to individuals you’re not connected with so you can still gather leads without adding complete strangers to your network.
InMail comes with LinkedIn’s Premium membership, in which there are subscription tiers. Depending on which subscription you have, you’ll be allotted either 20 or 30 InMail credits per month to use to your heart’s desire.
Other Premium features
LinkedIn offers Premium plans catered towards four specific goals: getting hired, growing your business’ network, finding sales opportunities, and hiring. For the purposes of this blog, I’m highlighting the sales-oriented plan, which includes features such as:
- Browse unlimited profiles
- Custom lead and account lists
- See recommended leads
- CRM Sync
Create groups for individuals to join that can spark conversation
While you as an individual should join groups, you should also create a group or a few hosted by your company page. This provides a great opportunity to facilitate conversations and engage with clients, which can spur some good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing while also showing potential clients that your company goes beyond providing a product/service and values what existing clients have to say.
Share content on a regular schedule
Having a constant output of valuable information pertaining to your industry, from blogs to infographics to videos, helps produce exposure. Your page’s existing audience likely views you as an expert resource, and when individuals like, comment on, or share your posts, they essentially place your content right in front of their connections. These networks likely contain a solid number of potential leads who are in the market for the product/service your company offers but perhaps need a nudge in the right direction.
It’s also worth noting that having a content series specific to LinkedIn can help garner a following that results in leads. When one of my connections liked a #FinancialFeministFriday post from Ellevest, an investment service geared toward the financial health of women, I was impressed and followed the company’s page despite not being an Ellevest client. Well, cut to a month, or four #FinancialFeministFridays and an abundance of other valuable financial content, later, I found myself joining the Ellevest community. Through its LinkedIn page, I was able to get to know the brand and eventually convert to a client.
Sponsor that content
Within LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, you’ll have the ability to create campaigns, which includes sponsoring content, for three overarching goals: awareness, consideration, and conversions. Each of these is broken down into more specific goals, one of them being lead generation.
Once you’ve established your campaign’s audience, ad format, placement, budget & schedule, and conversion criteria, you’ll be able to go back to any post on your feed and click “Sponsor now.”
Now, that highly engaging and informative blog, infographic, or video you shared can reach a wider audience and hopefully provide some new leads.
Target and re-target how you want with Matched Audiences
LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature allows you to have complete control over who you reach with your paid campaigns. You’re able to upload your own list of up to 300,000 contacts for LinkedIn to comb through and match with existing users whom you can then target.
You can also re-target your website’s visitors via LinkedIn by including the URLs for specific landing pages your potential leads visit. For this to work, you’ll need to do some lightweight coding on your website and install a LinkedIn-provided insight tag.
Use Lead Gen Forms to, well, generate leads
This feature’s name pretty much says it all, but it’s worth noting that it enables potential leads to take action directly from your ad or sponsored content, rather than having to click around to your website to fill out a form. Cheers for convenience!
You also don’t have to worry about setting up elaborate tracking codes to know if a lead on your website came from LinkedIn, nor do you need to reference inconsistent data to gauge how well a LinkedIn campaign is performing. The conversion results will be right there in your Campaign Manager to evaluate.
Last thing, but perhaps my favorite. LinkedIn’s Lead Gen Forms can integrate with 3rd-party CRMs if you prefer to review your leads there. Another round of cheers for convenience!
Enjoy your new clients
You’ve primed your personal and company pages to build your reputation and garner brand awareness, and you’ve executed both free and paid marketing strategies across them to attract leads. Yes, now you can sit back and relax, but only for a moment because you’ve got new clients to see to. Plus, the marketing hustle never truly stops, and I’m sure your mind’s a few steps ahead, already working on the next lead-generation strategy.